On the Street: Doc Martens, Redux

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I took these two photographs during my commute one morning last week. I could easily take several similar photos during every morning and evening commute, as well as at my office, to make this obvious point: classic Dr. Marten AirWair boots are back (again). I supposed it’s been a while since their last revival. I’m not sure what exactly prompted this latest wave, but a whole new generation of girls has suddenly embraced them this spring.

These two young women were waiting for a crosstown bus in their purple and oxblood Docs.

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I spotted this girl wearing basic black Docs on the subway. The fact that she was reading Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, published in 1988, gave me even more of a flashback to my own Doc-wearing days of the late 1980s and early 1990s. At the time, I felt rebellious. I wore them with black leggings and black sweaters and floral print Betsey Johnson miniskirts, or with vintage dresses and cardigans. Then grunge hit the mainstream, and Docs didn’t seem so edgy anymore, so I phased them out of my wardrobe (although I kept the sweaters and dresses).

I wonder where people buy Docs in NYC these days, now that so many independent shoe stores and clothing boutiques have closed. I used to shop on West 8th Street; my college roommate favored 99X.

Have you ever worn Docs? Have you seen them around lately, wherever you live?

Photos by Tinsel Creation.

On the Street: Holiday Windows at Bergdorf Goodman, Christmas 2013

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I took this photo on Christmas Day, when Mr. TC and I were taking a quick tour of the store windows on Fifth Avenue. Bergdorf Goodman’s theme for the 2013 holiday season is “Holidays on Ice,” and this window is “Valentine’s Day.” You’re just seeing a detail of it here: the overall scene is complex and magical, and hard to capture on film. But even so, can you spot the pastries and confectionary, and the love letters on the woman’s desk, and the carnations spilling off her gown, and her pink fur stole?!

You can read more about these windows and view official photos at the Bergdorf blog.

On the Street: Vince Boutique, Madison Avenue

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I may be reading too much into the holiday-season windows of this Vince boutique on Madison Avenue when I say that they immediately remind me of Minimalist artist Dan Flavin’s series Monument for V. Tatlin (1969-70).

Flavin’s sculptures in this series were made entirely from prefabricated fluorescent lighting tubes.

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The series was a (semi-humorous) homage to Vladimir Tatlin’s design for an impossibly high and complex tower that would serve as a monument to the Communist International organization (1919-20). Some of Flavin’s neon arrangements referred to the shapes of that never-built monument, and others were simply abstract shapes.

Were Vince’s visual merchandising experts aware of Flavin’s work and its implications about art and history? Were they trying to suggest an abstract menorah? Or did they just want to come up with a window display that was illuminated and modern (and not too expensive to execute)? Your guess is as good as mine. I’ve never even been inside a Vince shop.

Images: Vince photo by Tinsel Creation; Dan Flavin photos/works courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art and Phillips.

On the Street: York Beads and Manhattan History

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I don’t normally slow down when I pass the various bead and trimming stores in west Midtown, but this sign made me laugh. I can never resist a reference to New York City history.

I’m sure the real story is more complicated, but still — very clever.

Purchase-of-Manhattan(This post goes out to my friend Leslie—New Yorker, historian, and craftsperson extraordinaire.)

Images: photo by Tinsel Creation; detail of postcard (1909) from the Museum of the City of New York archives, reproduced here.

On the Street: The Plaza Hotel in Self-Camouflage

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A few days ago, I passed the Plaza Hotel on 5th Avenue. I did a double-take and then I took this picture. Look closely: on its front facade, the Plaza is wearing a cleverly fitted covering, designed and detailed to look like the building itself. Apparently the hotel is under construction; the side facing Central Park, visible at the right in this photo, has its own mesh-like cover to protect passersby from falling debris.

I don’t know what the view from inside the Plaza must be these days, with all this work going on, but the trompe l’oeil tarp is a nifty way to deal with the exterior.